The 2017 NBA Draft was my very first draft as a Denver Stiff, and leading up to the evening I was full of excitement and anticipation. The Nuggets had missed out on the playoffs, but had such a great few months leading up to that point it was hard to not be excited about the direction the team was headed. Then watching the events of that evening unfold, I found myself disillusioned as a fan. The entire evening was one big blunder from my point of view, and subsequently watching Danilo Gallinari and Chris Finch leave the organization, I was left feeling concerned about whether or not I should trust the direction the team was headed.
Without re-hashing all the emotions behind the 2017 draft yet again, suffice to say I had my expectations set fairly low headed into this year’s draft night.
This past year at work, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to be brought into the fold of the bigger picture of the company I work for. I am fascinated by the operations of any industry, and I am grateful for the chance to expand my understanding of the business world, and my market specifically.
One of the things I’ve been able to learn is that there is never any sort of reward without an associated risk. Now, I’ve known this, but to experience it is an entirely different level of understanding. If you participate in a 401K program you likely had the option of picking the type of mutual fund you wanted to be a part of. Some have a low risk, and a low return. Others that are more popular have a moderate risk with an equally moderate return. And, for those who like to live on the edge, there are options for high risk/high return funds for you to invest your contributions.
Most good companies pay a team of people big bucks to analyze market data for them on a daily basis to provide the most detailed and useful information that aids in making decisions about the future of the company. The bottom line objective being maximizing reward while minimizing risk.
This group runs strategy on different scenarios calculating all possible factors that will impact the outcome of the decisions made. They make charts on projected growth, projected costs, possible unknown conditions that could change things, and so on.
This is what I imagine an NBA team goes through on a daily basis—a good team anyway. Perhaps they employ a strategy team whose sole responsibility it is to flush through different trade and acquisition scenarios all year long to optimize the team’s roster and profitability. And, perhaps the less “lucky” teams in the draft don’t do this at all.
I will be honest, and admit that my overall attitude about the Nuggets 2017-2018 season decisions to include the trade deadline moves (with the exception of signing Paul Millsap, and parting with Emmanuel Mudiay) has been unimpressed. I wanted to see the Nuggets make a splash, and take a risk on a move that would change the landscape of the organization for the better for years to come. Last year, we saw a little bit of that, but I mainly got the feeling that the Nuggets were afraid to take that risk. So they barely moved at all, and we saw the exact same results that we saw the season before.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think the Nuggets are moving up, and this past season WAS an improvement over the previous year overall. But, the proof is in the pudding. Missing the playoffs is missing the playoffs no matter how you slice it.
So, this year I was skeptical. Perhaps I was even a little negative about what the Nuggets would or would not do. And, I’m so glad I was wrong.
I couldn’t be more excited that Denver was able to pick up Michael Porter Jr, and I believe it could be a serendipitous occurrence that he happened to slip to number 14 in the draft. Porter has the potential to replace what the Nuggets lost when Gallinari left, and perhaps they’ll even get an upgraded skill level on defense while they’re at it. Sure, he’s injured right now, but the risk they took was properly calculated knowing Porter will heal and be ready to play again soon.
Denver also made a move that involved a trade to acquire Jarred Vanderbilt who is known for his defensive prowess and rebounding skills. If you’ve been paying attention you know that these are two things the Nuggets need in a bad way at the moment. Vanderbilt is particularly skilled on the offensive glass which should prove a nice boost for the Nuggets when they’re looking to get second chance points. It’s these little things that can make or break a game, and one game that can make or break a playoff appearance.
Overall, I’d say that my faith in the Nuggets has been renewed after their performance in last night’s draft. I believe these moves will not only help them make the playoffs this season, but I believe they’re now better equipped to move along in the post season once the new recruits are trained up and playing their best.
From a business perspective, I’d also wager that the decisions Denver made last night earned them some respect within the league. Good teams want to do business with other good teams, and credibility through sound business decisions goes a long way.
So, way to go Nuggets. You’ve done your fans proud. Now, don’t let us down.